Antiretroviral drugs are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV. When several such drugs, typically three or four, are taken in combination, the approach is known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART. The American National Institutes of Health and other organizations recommend offering antiretroviral treatment to all patients with AIDS. Because of the complexity of selecting and following a regimen, the severity of the side effects and the importance of compliance to prevent viral resistance, however, such organizations emphasize the importance of involving patients in therapy choices and recommend analyzing the risks and the potential benefits to patients without symptoms.
There are different classes of antiretroviral drugs that act at different stages of the HIV life cycle.
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